At the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA, plans are in motion to bring the fuel of the future one step closer to everyday use. In collaboration and co-funded by the US Department of Energy, BMW started a project to extract hydrogen from the methane gas produced in landfills.
To do this, they employed a system to remove contaminants from the methane that is ultimately transformed into hydrogen via the SMR (steam methane reformer). Later this year, BMW will test the performance of the hydrogen they obtained from garbage compared to that from commercial sources.
BMW already uses this fuel source to power almost 38 percent of the plant. The plant’s hydrogen storage and delivery system has also been upgraded, now being able to provide around 400 kg of hydrogen each day. On the assembly line, more hydrogen-powered equipment has been added to the fleet, like fork lifts and motorized carts, bringing the total up to 230 units.
The german car maker is determined to find new ways to produce energy, and this project certainly proves it. Although electricity gets a lot of attention these days as a “clean” fuel, it is still produced by oil or coal burning plants. But hydrogen as fuel is truly clean, and so I wish BMW the best of luck in their endeavors.